Underdog title took pressure off us: Srikkanth

Posted on June 25, 2013

0


’83 winner and opener on the victory

It’s unbelievable that 30 years have passed since that remarkable day in Lord’s. India had beaten two-time defending champions West Indies to lift the World Cup in 1983. It was one of the biggest upsets in cricket and one which changed the face of cricket in this country forever. Nobody expected us to reach so far in tournament leave alone win the title. We enjoyed the title of underdogs, it ensured that there was no pressure on us through the tournament and especially in the final.

We were positive going into the final against the Clive Lloyd-led team which has so many big names including Viv Richards, Michael Holding, Andy Roberts, Gordon Greenidge and Joel Garner.

Our run in the tournament added to our optimism. We had upstaged the Carribbeans in the league stages, even a strong Australian team faltered against us. The team also recovered against Zimbabwe when Kapil Dev scored 175.

Srikkanth top scored in the final with 38 runs.

Srikkanth top scored in the final with 38 runs.

But, this was a World Cup and to taste success we had to beat teams of such high caliber. In the semifinal we beat England in front of their home crowd to set the tone for the championship decider. It was a low-scoring game. Even though after being put into bat first and being able to score just 183 runs in the 60-over game we still had hope. Personally, looking back it was nice to have top scored in that game (38 runs).

When we took the field to defend our score, we did not feel pressurised. Our strategy against the batting giants was simple – to bowl tight and aim to take wickets at regular intervals. We were wary of what the team could do, but our bowling had been consistent and highly effective through the tournament and so was our fielding.  The bowlers chipped in with regular wickets but the turning point was the dismissal of Richards. Kapil took a superb catch running back to send Richards back for 33, when he was looking dangerous. Since no one expected us to win, the triumph was sweeter. And that is why, in my opinion, the 1983 World Cup win ranks ahead of the 2011 World Cup win.

When we came back, we were hosted by the Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi). It was a big honour for us, a great feeling to be invited.

Advertisements
Posted in: Cricket, Sports, Tribute